A Defense Ministry source tells RIA Novosti that Bulava SLBM testing will resume between 15 and 17 June. The test launch will come from modified Proyekt 941U SSBN Dmitriy Donskoy, though the source claims Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy is ready to fire the missile.
Recall that Proyekt 955 Dolgorukiy was back at Sevmash for work this winter.
The source says the first launch from Dolgorukiy will come after two successful firings from Donskoy.
Bulava now has 7 reported successes in 14 tries. There will be 4-5 tests in 2011.
If they are successful (and at least a couple come from Dolgorukiy), the SLBM and its intended submarine will be accepted into the Navy inventory. And serial production of Bulava will ramp up.
If they aren’t, the naval strategic modernization effort will find itself back where it was prior to two successful launches last October.
But the Russians seem pretty confident this time around.
Today’s Kommersant cites Interfaks saying a session of the state commission deciding on the next Bulava SLBM test will happen during the next week. Kommersant’s own OPK source confirmed this, calling the session a formality since the commission’s already announced that testing needs to continue in the near future. The source says, after the commission meets, another week is needed to prepare for a launch, so look for the next test in late August or early September.
Kommersant quotes an unnamed OPK official who said the planned launch in the 11-13 August timeframe was postponed because “additional stand tests of the system were conducted with the goal of more rigorous preparation for the launches.”
Kommersant reminds readers three launches are planned before year’s end — two from Dmitriy Donskoy (proyekt 941U Akula) and one from Yuriy Dolgorukiy (proyekt 955 Borey).
The paper’s OPK source claims, in view of Bulava’s failures, “this strategic missile system will only be accepted into the inventory after a minimum of five consecutive successful tests.”
Posted in Defense Industry, Naval Modernization, Strategic Forces Modernization
Tagged Akula, Borey, Bulava, Dmitriy Donskoy, OPK, Proyekt 941U, Proyekt 955, SLBM, Yuriy Dolgorukiy